>> announcer: this is al jazeera. ♪ hello welcome to the news hour, i'm jane dutton in doha. going after the islamic state in iraq and the levant, the u.s. says it will also target fighters in syria. ukraine's parliament grants rebellious eastern regions greater autonomy. and a fresh warning about the seriousness of the ebola virusrus in west africa.
a test for the french government as it seeks a confidence vote in parliament. ♪ top security officials in washington are defending president obama's plans to take on the islamic state. this is the first time pentagon officials have testified about obama's offensive. among those speaking in front of the senate armed services committee is the joints chiefs of staff, general martin dempsey, and defense secretary chuck hagel. the hearing was briefly interrupted by activists. >> we know that thousands of foreign fighters, including europeans and more than 100 americans have travelled to syria with passports that gave
them relative freedom of movement. these fighters can exploit isil's safe haven. >> let's talk about this more with rosiland jordan in washington, d.c. for us. we are starting to get a clearer picture of what is expected and that the u.s. is already part of a combat mission. >> that's right. the u.s. is saying it is involved in a war against members of isil and as well as against members of al-qaeda, and coming on the president's comments from nearly a week ago, that 500 more military advisors will be going to iraq to assist the iraqi military as well as the peshmerga in their efforts to fight isil. about 150 of those members will be taking part in what had been
known as an assessment team and it is now turning to an assist and advise team. much more hands on. another 225 members of the military will be stationed in bagdad as well as around the country, again, to help coordinate and share intelligence with the iraqi military. it's a significant ramping up of efforts. it comes after we hear in the last 24 hours that the u.s. military targeted isil forces southwest of bagdad which is far and away from where most of the air strikes to date have been taking place inside that country. >> i want us to listen to some of the exchanges that happened early on. the defense secretary faced some tough questions from republican senator john mccain in regard to syria. >> the free syrian army units are attacked from the air from
bashar al-assad, will we prevent those attacks from taking place, and take out the helicopter and fixed wing that will be attacking the free syrian army units? >> we're first of all not there yet, but our focus is on isil -- >> so you are not -- >> -- but a threat to our country and the our interests and the people of the region, so what we are training these units for, yes, as a stabilizing force in syria, as an option, but the first focus is as i just said, as the president laid out in his statement -- >> i take it from your answer that we're now recruiting these young men to go and fight in syria against isil but if they are attacked by bashar al-assad, we're not going to help them. >> they will defending themselves, senator. >> will we help them against assad's air -- >> we will help them and support
them as we have trained them -- >> will we repel bashar al-assad's arias sets that will be attacking them? >> any attack on those that we have trained who are supporting us, we will help them. >> it shows you how tricky any intervention in syria is going to be, isn't it? >> it does show you how complicated it is. and it was perhaps an opportunity for senator john mccain one of the president's leading critics to essentially criticize the obama administration's failure in his view of not helping the free syrian army as long ago as two years ago, when there might have been in his view a better opportunity to defeat bashar al-assad's army. now, of course, the fact that isil members are both in syria and iraq is a complicating
factor for the u.s. government as it tries to figure out how to confront the threat. and that shows our viewers how difficult it is going to be for the obama administration to explain what exactly is the ultimate goal and the exact strategy. >> all right. rosland, thank you. for the first time people in parts of eastern ukraine will be able to decide their own future. it's just one of three big decisions made by the kiev parliament in the midst of a shaky ceasefire which has been in place for nearly two weeks. a new law gives special status to the separatists eastern regions. that means they will be allowed to govern themselves for three years. it's also proved an agreement which links ukraine politically and economically to the european
union. peter sharp is in moscow, but first let's talk to robin in donetsk in eastern ukraine. how are those affected reacting to this news, robin? >> reporter: lukewarm at best, outright rejection in the worse-case scenario. we're getting different signals from the different leaders of these separate rebellions in eastern ukraine. we have just been hearing that the first deputy minister of the self proclaimed donetsk people's republic stating that he rejects this law that is being passed in kiev. we have also seen a comment attributed to the prime minister of the self proclaimed donetsk people's republic, in which he said that this document would need to be translated into
russian first and then read very carefully, and then they would come up with an answer to what the ukrainians were offering them. the ukrainians really if you look at it on paper, it's a very substantial offer of compromise. particularly this issue over amnesty, where combatants on both sides would not be held responsible for potential war crimes committed, and also cause a special status for three years with the ability to appoint their own prosecutors and judges and at the same time any ukrainian central authority saying we will also provide for you. we'll help with the reconstruction, the reaction also has to be where it is going to come in terms of the public, and those who have been fighting
so hard to take back over this area. some describe it as legalized occupation. >> so lukewarm there as robin was describing. but in russia, peter, the response? >> reporter: well there has been no official response from either putin or the kremlin. but i think there will be brood approval for this special status that was announced today in the parliament in kiev. the really key point for russia is that it lasts three years. it's a three year limited period. it gives russia the chance to strengthen this anchor between russia and the separatists in the east. they won't be as happy with the news on tuesday that the ruble has fallen to its all-time low since the ruble was restructured in 1998. it is down to 38.72 on the dollar, and that is totally the
result of sanctions a former finance minister said, it means for the next two to three years we're going to have a lot of trouble raising investment capital. and that's on the back of oil prices and oil prices make up a huge amount of import revenue. so the economy is not looking good. but as far as a look ahead to the future of ukraine as far as the russian perspective is concerned, they will be pleased with that. all right. to yemen now, fighting between yemenese and houthi rebels have killed more people. they have been protesting against the government for more than a month now. and demonstrators have also been calling for fuel subsidies to be inrestated. the iraqi parliament has adjourned until thursday without selecting two crucial posts.
the prime minister has chosen his nominees, but they have yet to be approved by parliament. the positions are seen as crucial to his promise of an inclusive government and political stability. a suicide bomb attack in afghanistan's capitol has killed at least six people, soldiers and civilians. police say a car filled with explosives rammed into an american military convoy. the afghan taliban says it carried out the attack. coming up later in the news hour, stronger ties and big investments, china's president is the this sri lanka. i'm in the nuclear submarine base outside of glasgow. what happens if an independent scotland demands withdraw of nuclear submarines.
and level pool prepare for their return to the champions league after a five-year absence. ♪ the u.n. is warning $1 billion is needed to fight the ebola outbreak in west africa, fearing cases could double every three weeks. nearly 2.5 thousand people have died from the virus, close to half of all of those infected. there have been 2,000 new cases in the past three months. it is now warning of an unparalleled crisis. >> deaths at 2,461, and an important point i hadn't made of that 4,985 case, fully 50% of them occurred in the last 21 days, and that reflects the
concern in the escalation of the cases. the numbers can be kept in the tens of thousands, but that is going to require a much faster escalation of the response. president barack obama set to unveil new measures to tackle the disease in the coming hours. at least 3,000 military personal will be sent to monrovia to help coordinate efforts, help train health-care workers, and set up facilities for victims around the region. china has announced it is sending more medics to sierra leone to boost laboratory testing. that brings the number of chinese experts there to 174. cuba is also sending dozens of nurses and doctors. and the e.u. has committed $194 million to fight ebola. the french government is
seeking a confidence vote in parliament prompted by increasing frustration with the president's handling of the economy. the prime minister has called for the vote following an emergency cabinet reshuffle. nadine barber joins us live from paris. how is this playing out? >> reporter: well, jane, the debate or speeches in the national assembly are still going on, two hours ago, the prime started by outlining the government's general economic position. after speaking briefly about foreign policy. this as you said was all prompted -- this confidence vote was prompted by the cabinet reshuffle at the end of august after three ministers were fired. the economy minister had criticized the president's austerity plans, saying they weren't fair and they weren't working. manuel has seen as a prime minister who is fairly close to
big business, and certainly someone who is determined to push through the vision of how the french economy could be kick started. in the last couple of hours he has been stressing that french firms need to be more competitive, that there needs to be more investment, and this kind of message, while popular with some, amongst the socialist party is it really alienating some mp's. there are around 30 or 40 rebels whereas the government would need -- it would need to see around 60 within its own camp abstaining to actually bring it down. so although the prime minister among the public opinion polls and some of the party is unpopular, the deal should standing. >> thank you. ♪ it is just two days now
until scotland votes whether or not to lee the united kingdom. an independent scotland could also worry british allies as lawrence lee reports that is because scotland is home to britain's nuclear arsenal. >> reporter: sheltered by low mountains and deep lakes known as locks in scotland, is the u.k.'s nuclear defense. defense of the realm is the plank of any of the main london political parties, but the peace camp says many in scotland don't buy that story, and certainly don't want nuclear weapons on their land. >> the consensus in scotland has been against it for quite sometime now, and that is
reflected in the anti-nuclear stance of the [ inaudible ] that's the reason why it has come down to a yes no vote on the question of nuclear weapons. >> reporter: the government have the weapons here because the locks are so deep that the craft can get out to sea quickly and disappear. nowhere else around the coast of theest of the u.k. offers such a place to hide. this is what all of the politicians fear losing for themselves the most, because the dread fear in westminster is exactly what happens if an independent scotland demands withdraw of the united kingdom's nuclear fleet. independence then would make the future of this place a huge bargaining chip. >> the scottish police force has
to proverdict the naval base. if scotland wanted to force the u.k. to remove its weapons it would simply cut off support, and make sure that the clyde is filled up with any old random fishing boat at any point. >> reporter: the other question is what happens to the british army, which has traditionally carried lots and lots of scots. the scottish army wants its own army. many believe scottish soldiers would far rather stay exactly where they are now. >> scotland forms the backbone of the british army. we rekrut more people out of scotland per capita than anywhere else in the united kingdom. >> reporter: and imagine what the u.k. would look like on the world stage with one of its four corners suddenly missing. would a union of england,
whales, and northern ireland, look, well, a bit small, a country which can't keep itself together, a bit weak? the chinese president is in i have lain -- sri lanka for the first visit in decades. they are building a port project for sri lanka. the sea route would connect china with europe. he is visiting southeastern nations this week to rally support for the project. >> reporter: the chinese leader is the first chinese president to visit here for 28 years, and it's very much a sign of the warming relations between the to countries. the relationship between the two goes back for hundreds of years, the convention center you see behind me was something that was gifted by the chinese to sri
lanka many decades ago. china has got a massive presence here in sri lanka, contributing in a scale of spheres, we have got power projects, infrastructure development, we have got a number of things that china has come in with the investment, as well as the manpower to help sri lanka on its road to recovery and rebuilding since the end of the road. china coming through for this country during the final stages of the conflict in terms of monetary assistance, loans, as well as weaponry, to help the government in its final push to win the war. however, now it's almost pay back time with an increasing presence for china in sri lanka with a number of planned development projects going china's way. the issue has brought some criticism from some who say
serious questions need to be asked, to award a lot of these projects to china, and whether some of these projects are indeed necessary. and the fact that sri lanka is signing up to loans for many generations to come at interest rates higher than they should be. however, this is very much a sign of the warming relations. voters in fiji head to the polls on wednesday for the first democratic elections since 2006. fijis allies will be closely watching the long-awaited vote. andrew thomas reports. >> reporter: this woman enjoys her job and has recently got engaged. her future looks bright. but with an election on wednesday, she is thinking about her country's future. >> we want to live in a country
where we will maintain peace. [ inaudible ]. >> reporter: waiting for her granddaughter, this woman is going through the election candidates. >> i haven't decided yet. maybe three days, on wednesday, i might pick the right one. >> reporter: the most familiar face is the man who has run fiji since 2006 when he took power in a coup. he ruled by decree, australia and new zealand then broke diplomatic ties. >> they reacted by saying we don't need you anymore, and declared a look north policy, whereby he would seek out better relations with china. >> reporter: chinese investment kept the economy going.
fijis infrastructure improved. the sanctions hasn't worked. the crucial test now, whether the election will be free and fair. unfair say some if his grip on the media and bans on some parties and candidates. >> the elections ought to be so fair that even the side that loses accepts the outcome. >> reporter: as for free, an international team of observers say they don't expect any on the day fraud, but even a legitimate election will only be a first step. >> i seriously hope this election will set a very good examples of further democraticization of fiji. >> reporter: things like independent courts and a free press will be expected. already concerning come is a media blackout, a three-day decree banning any political
reporting, and anything that might influence voters. democracy is about more than just an election, it's about how it is held and what happens next. thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes in central philippines over fears of possible volcanic r eruption. officials have raised the alert stages to level 3. a magnitude 5.6 earthquake has struck japan's capitol. this picture shows a car damaged in a landslide triggered by the quake. divisions within a rebel coalition in central african republic are jeopardizing chances of a lasting peace agreement, and raising fears of more violence.
the mainly muslim rebel force seized pourer last year. the group retreated after international pressure, but still has thousands of fighters. >> reporter: across the river, not far from the u.n. and french forces, we arrive at a base of the rebel group that once nearly overran central african republic. the mainly muslim group is still active in many parts of the country. this town is one of their strong holds. but there are signs seleka is divided. a claim disputed by this man. he says he leads the group here and has this wash -- warning. >> translator: today i can tell you if you want to disarmy
force, i can use all of these men, and then what will become of central africa republic. >> reporter: close by is the base of another rival seleka general. he is from a different group. they have different check points and control of the many gold and diamond mines in the region. in the past month at least 20 rebels have been killed. thousands of people have left their homes because of the fighting. this woman lives in this u.n. camp with her six children. >> translator: they went door to door looting and killing. we ran to the cathedral, but they followed us there. it was a massacre. thanks to unicef, we are being helped. >> reporter: this is not just about religion or ethnicity, at the heart is poverty.
around 2.5 million people need outside help just to survive, and many don't have access to food or clean water. with a gun you can get food, water, and mineral wealth. that is why seleka rebels have scattered across this country, but now it's leadership is fragmenting, making the chances of a lasting peace agreement difficult. there's a lot more still to come in the news hour. we report from nicaragua on a mystery illness that is killing healthy young laborers. and now the nfl is trying to improve its image after a string of high-profile controversies. jo will have the latest. ♪
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american teens. the incredible journey continues... on the edge of eighteen only on all jazeera america among the partners the united states has rallied to the cause of degrading and destroying the so-called islamic state, there are country that don't see eye to eye on much of anything else, is that any way to run a counter terrori terrorist -- alliance? it's the "inside story." ♪